Review: Bistro du Vin @ Hotel du Vin Exeter

As a passionate advocate for local cuisine and culinary experiences, I'm always on the lookout for hidden gems and top-notch dining spots.

Gifted: While I have been offered complementary meals in exchange for the review, all thoughts are completely honest and are my own.

I'm thrilled to announce that I'm launching an awards series on my website to celebrate the best restaurants Exeter has to offer. This initiative aims to shine a spotlight on the incredible culinary talent in our community and provide well-deserved recognition to those establishments that go above and beyond to delight diners. 

I will be scoring the food, service and ambience of each restaurant I review, to find the ultimate winner of the crown 'Exeter's Best Restaurant'

Gifted: While I have been offered complementary meals in exchange for the review, all thoughts are completely honest and are my own.

Bistro du Vin is set in the Hotel du Vin, in the heart of Exeter. The website states you can 'Experience an elegant and informal setting for breakfast, lunch and dinner'.

As you enter, you're greeted by a sophisticated ambiance, where modern design seamlessly merges with the warmth of traditional bistro charm.

The walls are adorned in sumptuous shades of green and with leaf pattern, creating an atmosphere of understated luxury. Large windows stretch from floor to ceiling, offering views into the glorious garden area, and an open kitchen so you can watch the chefs at work.

The food at at the Exeter restaurant is 'effortlessly simple'. Inspired by French home-style cooking with robust earthy dishes and slow-cooked foods, Bistro du Vin's menu has an undeniably British flavour.

Their website states: 'It's about serving up dishes that rely heavily on fresh and seasonal produce. It's about superb, simple dishes prepared beautifully and served in a warm and relaxing setting. All supported by attentive and exceptionally knowledgeable waiting staff, happy to explain the dishes, the ingredients, and how our talented Chefs put them together. Always on hand, your Sommelier is also ready to advise, guide, match or recommend the perfect wine.'

For starter we had 'Escargots Bourguignon En Croute', The tender snails, enveloped in a rich garlic and herb butter, offered a tantalizing blend of flavours that danced on the palate with each bite.

What truly elevated this dish was the addition of the puff pastry croutes, which provided a delightful crunch and contrast to the luscious texture of the escargots. It was a harmonious marriage of flavours and textures.

We also had 'Chicken Liver Parfait'. The Chicken Liver Parfait was an exquisite balance of rich, creamy texture and robust, savoury flavour. 

Accompanying the parfait was the perfect companion - toasted brioche. The brioche was impeccably toasted to golden perfection, providing a buttery, delicate base that perfectly complemented the decadent richness of the parfait. 

The main courses swiftly followed, and I had the 'The Beef Cheek Bourguignon'. It was an absolute revelation of flavour and tenderness. Each succulent morsel of beef cheek melted in the mouth, revealing layers of rich, deep flavour that had been lovingly infused with the red wine and herbs.

It also had some perfectly cooked pancetta, earthy mushrooms, and delicate baby onions, each adding its own unique dimension to the dish. 

The menu didn't state that the Bourguignon was served with anything on the side, so I requested Camembert Pomme Purée.

The creamy, velvety potato provided the perfect canvas for the star of the show – the decadent Camembert cheese. Each spoonful of purée was luxuriously smooth, with just the right amount of buttery richness to complement the indulgent creaminess of the Camembert.

My guests main was Fillet of Sea Bass with Pipérade, pesto and fennel. The bass was perfectly cooked to tender perfection and bursting with delicate flavours. The fish was flawlessly complemented by the vibrant and aromatic pipérade, which added a delightful medley of sweet peppers, tomatoes, and onion.

The words 'This is the best Sea Bass I have ever tasted' were uttered by my guest!

Next, the La Profiterole, a single large profiterole, was a decadent indulgence. The crisp, golden pastry shell gave way to a sumptuous filling of creamy, vanilla-infused ice cream, perfectly balanced by a drizzle of rich chocolate sauce. It was a heavenly treat.

 And finally, no French inspired meal would be complete without a Crème Brûlée. This classic dessert was glorious with it's smooth, creamy custard base and perfectly caramelized sugar crust. Each spoonful was a revelation of velvety texture and rich, indulgent flavour,